August 01, 2013

Pinkie Cooper

China Toy Expo

The Big Toy Book Hosts Second Annual Sweet Suite Biggest Night of Play

Sweet SuiteThe Big Toy Book’s Sweet Suite event on July 25 brought together more brands and bloggers than ever before. More than 450 influential bloggers from around the country connected with more than 40 brands at the River East Arts Center in Chicago for the Biggest Night of Play.
At the Sweet Suite event, individual lounge areas were created where bloggers played with some of the hottest kids brands and products. The night gave bloggers a chance to meet old and new friends while they sipped wine and ate Shari’s Berries and other sweet treats. The bloggers were treated to new experiences, such as being the first to test many new toy brands. They played with Activision’s Skylanders Giants, were introduced to Razor’s Crazy Cart, tested the World’s Softest teddy bear, played with new games, made bracelets, sipped Keurig ice coffee, and practiced using cool new baby products. Swag boxes, which were shipped directly to their houses, were waiting for them upon their return home.

Sweet SuiteWith a waiting list of more than 150 bloggers, organizers ran a Google Hangout during the event and a preview show so that those who were not able to attend could see the action and even win prizes. Social media was abuzz with more than six million Twitter impressions and more than 600 Instagram photos. An online press center was created for the bloggers in attendance, which now features an uncountable number of posts.
The Big Toy Book will host its second holiday event this fall in New York City. This Biggest Day of Play will give bloggers the opportunity to connect with brands as the holiday season approaches. Plans are also underway for next year’s event in New York City. If you are interested in learning more about these events, contact Laurie Schacht at

Moose Toys Introduces the Zelfs

ZelfsThis fall, Moose Toys introduces the Zelfs, collectible dolls that emerge from the secret garden of Zardenia where they dwell in their “fab-itats.” Featuring colorful and spiketacular hair, each Zelf has its own unique persona, a Zelf power represented by a Zelfmark, and matching charms and hair accessories that girls can use to style the Zelf’s hair. Zelfs are designed for kids ages 5 and up.
The new line includes small, medium, and large Zelfs, and the Venus Fly Trap Spin Salon Playset that twirls and swirls each Zelf’s hair with the push of a button.




Spin Master Entertainment Launches Its First Preschool Animated Series, Paw Patrol

Paw PatrolSpin Master Entertainment, in association with Nickelodeon, launches its first solely owned intellectual property, Paw Patrol. Paw Patrol, based on a concept by Keith Chapman (Bob the Builder), with animation from Guru Studio (The Backyardigans and Justin Time), is set to premiere August 12 on Nickelodeon in the U.S., followed by the Canadian premiere on TVO and Knowledge Network on September 2. The series will begin airing on Nickelodeon’s international channels in the fall.
Paw Patrol is a CGI-animated series starring a pack of six heroic puppies–Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, and Skye–led by a tech-savvy, 10-year-old boy named Ryder. The series focuses on citizenship, social skills, and problem-solving. The Paw Patrol work together to protect the Adventure Bay community believing that “No job is too big, no pup is too small!”
Spin Master owns the worldwide toy rights for the brand and will produce and distribute Paw Patrol in Canada through broadcast partners TVO and Knowledge Network. Nickelodeon has licensed the global (excluding Canada) distribution rights for the show on behalf of Viacom International, as well as ancillary exploitation rights, including licensing and merchandising.

Disney Consumer Products Releases Disney’s Planes Collection

PlanesDisney Consumer Products has announced a product collection inspired by Disneytoon Studios’ high-flying adventure, Disney’s Planes, with products that leverage technology and interactivity from the Disney Store and companies including Mattel, Thinkway Toys, and Jay Franco. With track sets for side-by-side racing and stunts and launchers, kids will be able to recreate their favorite racing moments from the film. Fueling imagination and role play, the line also includes remote control planes that kids can guide with flight controllers that mirror their own body movements. The planes can be programmed to talk, and they move and turn with a programmable joystick. A collection from the Disney Store and, as well as an assortment of fashion, home décor, lifestyle, and publishing products rounds out the collection for fans of this new comedy-adventure from above the world of Cars.
Disney’s Planes is set for release in theaters August 9, and takes off with Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race despite his fear of heights.

Mega Brands Launches Tours at North America’s Largest Toy Factory

Mega Brands launched its North America’s Largest Toy Factory Tour Program at its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. The Mega Brands team welcomed the local Hochelaga Community Center Day Camp at its Mega Bloks toy factory for a day of building, learning, and fun. More than 120 children visited the Mega Bloks Toy Factory and enjoyed a variety of building activities alongside Santa Claus and his elves.
The Mega Bloks Factory Tours showcase the facilities to young builders through activities specifically customized for each age group. The tours highlight how-it’s-made processes, visits to areas where Mega Bloks are created from start to finish, and future professions to which visitors can aspire.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with Mega Bloks toy experts and ask any and all questions they have about the toy industry. The Mega Bloks Factory Tours are a great way for students to learn about a local global business as well as the stages in the life of a toy.
Tours are only available to schools, camps, daycares, and non-profit organizations for children. Although the tours are free, a donation of $5 per visitor in benefit of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation must be made (not applicable to non-profit organizations). Tours are limited to a maximum of 30 children at a time and it is recommended that classes be separated into groups of 8 to 10 to facilitate activities. Organizations are responsible for travel arrangements and all visitors must be dressed comfortably with closed shoes.

Mind Candy Partners with Activision for Moshi Monsters Game

KatsumaMind Candy has partnered with Activision Publishing Inc. for a new video game, Katsuma Unleashed. The game will hit store shelves on October 11 in Europe and November 5 in North America, and is currently in development at UK-based studio Sumo Digital for the Nintendo DS and 3DS handheld gaming systems.
Katsuma Unleashed is a side-scrolling, action-adventure platform game designed to appeal to Moshi fans of all ages. In a move away from the previous two titles, the game will feature stand-alone hero character Katsuma. As the franchise’s most popular Moshi Monster, players will embark on a voyage with Katsuma through new worlds packed with mini arcade challenges and boss battles. Along the way, Katsuma will have to battle enemy characters using powerful new capabilities, including Furi’s Smash and Diavlo's Flight, in order to rescue other Moshi Monsters. Another feature available in the 3DS version is StreetPass secrets—18 explorable maps and monster attack games where users get to play as each of the Moshi Monsters, each with its own unique set of moves.

The Smurfs 2 Smurftacular Merchandise Available for Purchase

The Smurfs 2, from Sony Pictures Animation & Columbia Pictures, released in theaters on July 31. Smurftacular retail promotions and in-store activations have been launched at retailers including PetSmart, Macy’s, It’Sugar, Toys “R” Us, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Claire’s, and Walmart. Some of the promotions include gift with purchase, gift cards, and TV advertising.

Kidz Bop 24 Release Coincides with Kidz Star USA Competition

KidzBopKidz Bop 24, the latest volume in the best-selling Kidz Bop audio series, is the sixth consecutive Kidz Bop title to debut in the Top 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.
Timed with the release of Kidz Bop 24, Kidz Bop launched its annual talent competition, Kidz Star USA, America’s biggest online talent search for kids ages 15 and under. This summer, Kidz Bop has teamed up with Six Flags Entertainment to bring The Official Kidz Star Live Audition Tour to 10 Six Flags Theme Parks, where kids can audition live. Aspiring young singers can enter for their chance to win an RCA Records recording contract in two ways: Kids can upload a 90-second performance video to or audition in person at select Six Flags Theme Parks.
Auditions and activities are free with paid park admission. TV and film star Jennette McCurdy is this year’s celebrity mentor and will help select the 2013 Kidz Star USA Grand Prize Winner. Four finalists will be flown to Hollywood to compete on stage at a Six Flags Magic Mountain finale event on September 28, where McCurdy will make a special appearance and help determine who will be crowned the next Kidz Star. The winner will be announced in October.

Fandooble is Fun for Players Young and Old

During a recent game-testing session here at The Toy Book, I had the opportunity to play Fandooble, from Mindtwister USA. This game took a few rounds to get the hang of, but once I did, I really liked it—so much so that I called dibs and took it home. Last weekend, I hosted my two teenage male cousins from Sweden. Needless to say, it could be a challenge at times to find activities that we all enjoyed; after all, a 13-year-old boy and a 28-year-old woman don’t have a lot of common ground. Fandooble was a great solution, and we played several times during their visit. I even purchased another copy to send home with them as a reminder of our time together. Read more.

Adrenaline Lovers Welcome a New Razor Thrill Ride

Ali Kermani is no stranger to adrenaline. A thrill-junkie and lover of skateboards and snowboards, he had landed a job inventing and demonstrating scooter tricks with Razor when Carlton Calvin, president of Razor, was in the crowd at a skateboard demo and immediately saw his skateboarding talent. While testing for Razor, Kermani came up with an idea for a product that was similar to a go-kart but had the capabilities of his skateboard, a drift cart. For years, he worked to perfect the product and finally partnered with Toys “R” Us to release the Razor Crazy Cart this week. This cart really does allow kids to drift and turn in any direction, and on a dime too! Read more.

Clifford The Big Red Dog Helps Explain the Science Behind Rainbows

Clifford The Big Red Dog is such a classic, lovable cartoon character, so it is fitting that Scholastic has a Clifford-themed science kit about something as spectacular as rainbows. Who doesn’t love to look to the sky and see an array of colors that seem to have magically appeared there after a rainy day? I know I sure do—almost as much as I loved Clifford growing up. Clifford The Big Red Dog Rainbow Science, part of The Young Scientists Club, is for kids ages 3 and up and is an experiment kit that teaches kids the science behind rainbows, while encouraging them to take an active role in their learning. Read more.

Jeffrey Katzenberg Named MIPCOM Personality of the Year

MIPCOM has announced that entertainment executive and CEO of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg has been named MIPCOM 2013 Personality of the Year.
Katzenberg will accept the award on October 9 during a gala dinner for industry executives at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France. On the same day, he will address the MIPCOM audience in the Palais des Festival’s Grand Auditorium and share his perspectives on the TV business as part of MIPCOM’s Media Mastermind series of presentations.
Organized by Reed MIDEM, MIPCOM will take place in Cannes from October 7 to 10.

New Executive Roles at Nelvana

Corus Entertainment has announced changes to its management team that will align leadership around the company’s newly organized business units. With these changes, the Corus Kids vertical will be led by Colin Bohm, vice president, television, head of Corus Kids, who will be responsible for overseeing the company’s kid-targeted specialty TV services, as well as Nelvana Studio and Nelvana Enterprises.
As part of the redesign, Nelvana Enterprises has created co-heads for distribution and licensing, who will jointly manage the global portfolio and will report to Bohm:
Antoine Erligmann has been appointed co-head, Nelvana Enterprises (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa); Andrew Kerr has been appointed co-head, Nelvana Enterprises (the Americas and Australasia); Jerry Diaz will continue in his role as vice president, worldwide sales and distribution; and Irene Weibel will continue in her role as vice president, head of Nelvana Studio.

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